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article imageSaudi man gets 15 years for Shiite cleric support

By AFP     Nov 3, 2016 in World

A court in Riyadh has sentenced a Saudi national to 15 years in prison for supporting executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, local media reported on Thursday.

Nimr and three other members of the kingdom's minority Shiite community were among 47 people convicted of terrorism and executed on a single day in January.

The executions provoked anger among Shiites and concern in the West, and raised tensions between Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.

Nimr was a driving force behind protests among Shiites that began in 2011.

Those protests later developed into a call for equality in the kingdom where Shiites, most of whom live in the kingdom's east, complain of marginalisation.

Al-Riyadh newspaper did not name the convicted man, who it said took part "in rallies and marches" in the Shiite-dominated Gulf coast district of Qatif.

The General Court in Riyadh pictured on May 15  2005
The General Court in Riyadh pictured on May 15, 2005
, AFP/File

He was also convicted of "chanting anti-state slogans and sympathising with the deceased Nimr", as well as helping to block roads and burn tyres, it said.

Among other accusations, the newspaper said he was willing to provide "the materials needed to make explosives" for attacks in the kingdom.

Nimr's Qatif-area hometown of Awamiya has been the scene of repeated security incidents since 2011.

After the protests started, police issued a list of 23 wanted people. Many suspects on that list have already been detained or killed in shootouts.

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